Rains continue to plague Kay County

May 29, 2019

It has been a rough couple of weeks across Kay, Grant and Pawnee counties. The record setting rainfalls have created road issues, flooding issues and just general havoc for residents.

Kaw Lake at last report is 40 feet over its normal level and the Arkansas River is over its banks causing problems all across the area. Ponca City had to close streets again last week when heavy rains overran several key streets. There are still three road closures in the area as of Monday because of water issues with no timetable as to when they will be reopened.

The Oklahoma Mesonet is reporting 9.78 inches of rain in Blackwell in the last seven days and 14.22 inches of rain in May so far. Medford and Newkirk are showing 9.32 and 11.00 inches of rain respectively last week. Pawnee to the east may be the hardest hit with 12.95 inches of rain in a week.

Residents need to be aware of county road conditions when out driving as across the state a lot of roads have been compromised by all the precipitation, tin horns washed away, simple erosion and ditches still full of water. Local and county officials are warning residents to not drive around Road Closed signs or to move the signs.

For all you Kay County historians, despite all the rain this month, the wettest month on record in Blackwell was June 1999 when 15.95 inches of rain fell in Blackwell. The wettest May prior to this month was May 2015 when 10.73 inches of rain fell.

Prior to the outbreak of rain this month, Blackwell had only received 11 inches of rain for the first four months of 2019.The wettest year on record was 1999 when the area received 57.24 inches of rain for the entire year.

There has been one fatality in Kay County as a result of the flooding. There have a reported three fatalities in Oklahoma as a result of the flooding.

The rains have affected road closures in the area and drivers are encouraged to call ahead to see what the road closures are before leaving for destinations across Oklahoma.
The beat resource before heading out on a trip this weekend will be to check the Traffic Advisory section of www.odot.org. An interactive map showing highway conditions and closures can be found at www.okroads.org.

A state of emergency is still in effect for all 77 counties and federal disaster was declared for Kay County over the weekend by the President Trump. The price gouging declaration has been put in effect by the state, which limits people from raising prices to take advantage of the situation. The Oklahoma State Insurance Commissioner has also put a 30-day moratorium on companies cancelling policies for non-payment of premiums.

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is available to work with local officials on water district issues that may come about as a result of the floods.

Finally, the damage to farm crops has not even started yet. There is a lot of water in the fields and the wheat crop was in its final stages as it is usually harvested in the early summer months. There have been no damage reports released yet on the crop damage by the state.